DIY Gift Wrapping Additions

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Happy New Year!

It has been awhile since I blogged..it’s always a busy time during the holidays!

Over the holidays we also celebrated my sister’s birthday, which gave me the opportunity to try out a few gift wrapping pins that I’ve been wanting to try for awhile!

The first one is courtesy of Martha Stewart….how to wrap gifts to include a pocket that holds the card.

The second is how to make gift bows, using pages from magazines.

I didn’t take step by step photos, but you can see the finished gift below:

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I usually use ribbon when I wrap gifts, but now that I know how to make bows, I’ll be using them more often.

Crayon Christmas ornaments

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Since my Christmas board is the board I pin to most frequently these days, I thought I’d try another Christmas craft.

We decorate these ornaments, using paint, with the kids at work. It’s an easy craft that always turns out. But awhile ago I pinned this…the same idea as the paint, but it uses broken crayon pieces instead.

You need glass ball ornaments, crayons, a hairdryer, knife to cut crayons. And having a pair of gloves could be useful!

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Choose your colors…

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Take the paper off the crayons and cut into pieces:

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It’s recommended to use 4 or 5 pieces of crayon in each ornament.

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Now you hold the ornament with one hand, and hold the hairdryer in the other hand, directly underneath the crayon pieces, to melt the wax. It takes a minute for the wax to start to melt. Swirl the wax around to make designs or to cover the inside of the ball completely (this is what I did). I wore knitted gloves to hold the ornament, which helped as the heat from the hairdryer makes the ornament hot to touch.

Finished product:

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I wish I had bought an extra box of ornaments…next time, I would experiment with the different colors. I would also make some with just a stripe or two of wax swirled on the inside.

What is your favorite Christmas craft?

Beer Advent Calendar

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Although I have no shortage of ideas to attempt from my 2K+ pins on my boards, this project wasn’t actually inspired by Pinterest. With that said, it’s the kind of idea that seems like something I would find on Pinterest, plus I’m betting if I were to do a search, I would find versions of it on Pinterest, and if not, I think there should be :)

The inspiration was from a friend who posted to FB a picture of a beer advent calendar she was given. …A random collection of craft beers, each one different. J thought it was the coolest thing. Since his birthday was at the end of November, it was perfect timing for a birthday gift. I checked, but the version my friend had was sold out in less than 2 days. Instead of giving up, I created my own version.

I shopped for 24 unique individual beers. Trader Joe’s was a great source, since you can pick and choose any of their beers and buy any bottle as a solo. They even provide empty 6-pack holders so you can create your own customized pack of 6.

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I used an empty beer case to package the 24 unique bottles, wrapped it up with gift wrap, and wrote a unique number overtop  each bottle in random positions around the case, and voila – a Beer Advent Calendar.

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J thinks it’s pretty cool, and for fun he’s keeping track of how many of the beers he’s being introduced to for the first time.

 

Mini Gingerbread Houses

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This week my goal was to start & finish my Christmas baking. Thanks to a few vacation days, it was easily accomplished. We have certain baked goods that we make every year…it’s tradition! These include sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter balls. Every year I try one or two new recipes and sometimes those are included in the yearly pre-holiday baking days. I’ve even found recipes during the past 2 years on Pinterest that are now a key part of my Christmas baking (I’ll save those for another post).

So, in preparation for my baking days, I looked at my Pinterest boards for something that stood out and would be easy to accomplish among the other recipes on the agenda.

And then I remembered these….mini gingerbread houses! How cute are they!? I love the look of miniature food items (& should probably create a new board dedicated to them!).

Since I was already making gingerbread cookies, I decided to make 3 mini houses with the dough I had leftover at the end. I use Martha Stewart’s gingerbread cookie recipe (available on her website).

The link above provides a template.

Rolled out the dough, place templates and cut. I used a butter knife to cut out the shapes (and therefore likely didn’t cut as precisely as I should have).

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Out of the oven. The cookies expanded and the door openings filled in, so I trimmed them with a knife as soon as they came out of the oven.

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Here they are! The instructions call for putting them together with royal icing. I used buttercream icing as I already had made some for the other cookies I was baking, and it worked fine for what I needed.

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Aren’t they adorable?!

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The original poster of this idea made her houses to fit on the edges of coffee mugs. But here was the tough part…I had a difficult time finding a mug it would fit on! Probably because I wasn’t as precise when I cut out the pieces.

I managed to fit it on this mug, but it was a tight fit.

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I also thought they would be cute on a bowl, for kids to enjoy with ice cream:

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Would I make these again?! Yes! It would be fun to experiment with the size of the pieces and to decorate them with candies.

Christmas tree craft

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It’s definitely a busy time of year! Since it’s December, my Pinterest pins lately have been Christmas related. And honestly, even then, most of them would just remain pins until next year or the year after. But this year, mostly because of this blog, I’ve found I’ve been going through my Christmas board and trying ideas I pinned last year (while still pinning lots of new ideas :).

I’m fortunate that I get to test out many of the pinned ideas with the kids at work.

This week we made a Christmas tree craft, inspired by this pin.

I liked how each child was able to create their own design…but when they were placed together to form a tree, the triangles complimented each other.

All that is needed is an uneven number of equilateral triangles! I printed an equilateral triangle I found on a search engine and enlarged it with a photocopier. Then we cut out the triangles out of green bristle board. The kids decorated their triangles with sequins and stickers.

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Our tree is made of 25 triangles. We added a star on the top and a brown piece of construction paper for the trunk….

Voila!

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Christmas Photo booth Props

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I’ve been into photography for years…from capturing vacations and holidays, to landscapes and candid moments. It’s my favorite keepsake and art form.

There’s a trend now of having photo booths at events…love this idea! And I also love the idea of making your own photo booth with backdrops and props. Earlier this fall I bought a photo booth props kit at Wal-mart for $5 and brought it in to work for the kids to use. It was lots of fun!

Now that Christmas is approaching, I thought it would be fun to have Christmas props. Here was the initial Pinspiration. I’m not a drawer so I searched Pinterest for a pattern and found someone who had also been inspired by the previous pin and had sketched the props.

Here are our props. I made them using the same card stock I use for scrapbooking:

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Added glitter to the reindeer noses and party hats for a bit of sparkle:

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And created a small backdrop with material from the dollar store:

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The kids had fun with the props during our first photo shoot and I’m sure we’ll use them more as Christmas gets closer.

Pretzel Bites

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This week I decided to tackle one of my first recipe pins: Pretzel bites!

Years ago I made soft pretzels a couple of times a year (delicious!) but haven’t made them in a couple of years. They’re a favourite mall snack of mine, so trying the bites was a great way of trying something new with a familiar treat :)

Here’s the Pinspiration

First step was to mix the water, sugar, yeast, and butter together.IMG_3068

The pictures end here for awhile because the recipe suggests mixing the dough with a dough hook. Since I don’t own a dough hook, I mixed the dough with my hands :) and neglected the camera.

I won’t post the full recipe here, as the website does a great job of that.

Skipping ahead to after the dough has risen…

Divide the dough into 8 pieces:

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Roll out each piece and cut into 1 inch “bites”:

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Boil the bites for 30 seconds in a water and baking soda mixture:

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Brush with an egg & water mixture, and sprinkle with salt (or cinnamon & sugar)

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Bake & enjoy!

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These were delicious! My taste testers devoured the first plate in minutes.

It suggests a cheese sauce, and although I didn’t make it this time, I would try it next time. I’m also interested in making cinnamon & sugar bites.

I did find the process to make these time consuming, even in comparison to making regular soft pretzels. I’ll have to make those again in the near future, to really compare the experiences. But from memory, I would say I would make pretzels again before making these.